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Questions and Answers: Chelsea leasehold conveyancing

I am on look out for some leasehold conveyancing in Chelsea. Before I set the wheels in motion I would like to find out the unexpired term of the lease.

If the lease is recorded at the land registry - and almost all are in Chelsea - then the leasehold title will always include the short particulars of the lease, namely the date; the term; and the original parties. From a conveyancing perspective such details then enable any prospective buyer and lender to confirm that any lease they are looking at is the one relevant to that title.For any other purpose, such as confirming how long the term was granted for and calculating what is left, then the register should be sufficient on it's own.

I am intending to rent out my leasehold apartment in Chelsea. Conveyancing solicitor who did the purchase is retired - so can't ask her. Is permission from the freeholder required?

Even though your last Chelsea conveyancing solicitor is not around you can check your lease to check if it allows you to sublet the property. The rule is that if the deeds are silent, subletting is permitted. Quite often there is a prerequisite that you need to seek permission from your landlord or other appropriate person before subletting. This means you not allowed to sublet in the absence of prior permission. Such consent must not not be unreasonably refused ore delayed. If your lease does not allow you to sublet you should ask your landlord for their consent.

I have just started marketing my garden flat in Chelsea.Conveyancing has not commenced but I have just had a yearly service charge demand – what should I do?

The sensible thing to do is pay the invoice as normal because all ground rent and service charges will be apportioned on completion, so you will be reimbursed by the buyer for the period running from after the completion date to the next payment date. Most management companies will not acknowledge the buyer until the service charges have been paid and are up to date so it is important for both buyer and seller for the seller to show that they are up to date. Having a clear account will assist your cause and will leave you no worse off financially.

I've recently bought a leasehold house in Chelsea. Do I have any liability for service charges for periods before my ownership?

In a situation where the service charge has already been demanded from the previous lessee and they have not paid you would not usually be personally liable for the arrears. Strange as it may seem, your landlord may still be able to take action to forfeit the lease. A critical element of leasehold conveyancing for your conveyancer to ensure to have an up to date clear service charge receipt before completion of your purchase. If you have a mortgage this is likely to be a requirement of your lender.

If you purchase part way through an accounting year you may be liable for charges not yet demanded even if they relate to a period prior to your purchase. In such circumstances your conveyancer would normally arrange for the seller to set aside some money to cover their part of the period (usually called a service charge retention).

Can you offer any advice when it comes to appointing a Chelsea conveyancing practice to deal with our lease extension?

When appointing a property lawyer for your lease extension (regardless if they are a Chelsea conveyancing practice) it is imperative that he or she should be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of conveyancing. We advise that you speak with several firms including non Chelsea conveyancing practices prior to instructing a firm. If the firm is ALEP accredited then that’s a bonus. Some following of questions could be useful:

  • If the firm is not ALEP accredited then why not?
  • What are the charges for lease extension conveyancing?

  • After months of dialogue we are unable to agree with our landlord on how much the lease extension should cost for our flat in Chelsea. Does the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal have jurisdiction to calculate the appropriate figures?

    if there is a absentee landlord or where there is disagreement about what the lease extension should cost, under the relevant legislation it is possible to make an application to the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal to determine the sum to be paid.

    An example of a Lease Extension decision for a Chelsea premises is 150A Albert Palace Mansions Lurline Gardens in July 2013. The Tribunal determined that the premium payable for the new lease of the subject property was £42,069 This case related to 1 flat. The the number of years remaining on the existing lease(s) was 57.06 years.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Chelsea